Sharks are an unbelievable 9-1-0 in their last 10 against Vancouver. With the Canucks swooning out the string, there was no reason to think that trend would be reversed. And it wasn't.
On the second shift of the game, Jake Virtanen made some nice moves in support of Sven Baertschi in the San Jose Sharks zone. He held pressure on the Sharks defenders, kept the puck near the boards, and got a nice shot on James Reimer from distance. Three and a half minutes in, the Emerson Etem line had good net front presence in the Sharks zone and were able to exert pressure on the Sharks, without getting a shot.
just did a popcorn run here in press box, you know, before Tryamkin got up here #nomorepopcorn— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) March 30, 2016
At 6:45, Roman Polak of the Sharks took an interference penalty. Shortly into the ensuing power play, Canucks PP worked the puck to a wide open Sven Baertschi on the right side. Baertschi had time, but didn't elevate the puck enough and put it into Reimer's glove. Baertschi also looked great on an attempted pass in front, where two Canucks were open, but neither could get a shot on net. Canucks are now 1 for 31 on recent PP. Nine minutes in, shots were 6-1 Vancouver. Like the last few games I've recapped, the Canucks have come out strong in the first, but didn't score, despite multiple chances.
With just over 12 minutes gone, the Gaunce-Burrows line had a great forechecking shift in the Sharks zone. Not long after, some nifty stickhandling by Bo Horvat in the Sharks' zone set up a good chance, but Reimer stopped it.
Andrey Pedan and Micheal Hailey fought after Pedan cleanly hit Dainius Zubrus in the Sharks' zone. Pedan looked poised and opened up a cut under Hailey's eye.
Stick tap to Pedan for that effort. He was throwin' heat. pic.twitter.com/47PbgFShOt— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) March 30, 2016
@benkuzma Pedan came down the wall but totally held up. Hit wasn't big or blind at all. Lame (but typical) that he had to fight for that— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) March 30, 2016
With 3:30 left, the Granlund line again had some sustained pressure in the San Jose end. Lots of good passing, but no finish.
With just under :30 left, San Jose put some pressure on the Canucks' Markstrom, but Markstrom made a pair of good saves to keep the scoreless tie intact.
Best home period in a while. Canucks outshoot Sharks 13-7, but can't generate goal. Daniel, twice, Burrows+Horvat w great chances.— Iain MacIntyre (@imacVanSun) March 30, 2016
Mixed results in circle. Granlund won 4 of 5 draws, Horvat 4 of 6, but H. Sedin just 3 of 9. #Canucks— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) March 30, 2016
11 different #Canucks had at least one shot on goal in the first. Gaunce and McCann had two each— Rich Brown (@richbrownsports) March 30, 2016
Now seen it all. Friend,colleague @BradZiemer's final game. 15 yrs on Canucks, 31 at VanSun. Happy retirement. pic.twitter.com/6oaFXEEwfr— Iain MacIntyre (@imacVanSun) March 30, 2016
Happy retirement, Brad. I've always enjoyed your work.
Twenty seconds into the period, Joe Pavelski scored. Jacob Markstrom tried to knock the puck away with his blocker, but it went to Pavelski, who put it in.
Sound familiar? #Canucks can't clear. Markstrom makes blocker save off Burns point shot, Pavelski allowed to cruise to deposit rebound.— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) March 30, 2016
Immediately after the goal, the Canucks applied pressure in the San Jose end. Jake Virtanen hit Roman Polak, after Polak earlier slashed Virtanen's stick from his hands. He received a major interference penalty and a game misconduct. I can see supplemental discipline being an issue, too. The hit was definitely late, a bit high, and to Polak's blind side.
here's another angle of the hit on Polak pic.twitter.com/TYjIfOM8eY— Stephanie (@myregularface) March 30, 2016
If Virtanen hears from league, could miss game(s) vs SJS, ANA & LAK. Those are the types of games he needs to play to measure himself— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) March 30, 2016
Canucks penalty kill was terrific, limiting the Sharks to two point shots. Chris Higgins and Ben Hutton combined on a two on one rush with a little more than :30 left in the penalty kill. Higgins scored a rare shorty, freezing Reimer in place and beating him with a nifty wrist shot.
Chris Higgins with a snipe! Top corner for the shorty. 1-1— Rich Brown (@richbrownsports) March 30, 2016
Gotta feel good for Higgins on the shorty snipe, in what has been a trying season. #Canucks— Stu Walters (@StuWaltersmedia) March 30, 2016
Canucks killed the rest of the penalty. Much of the middle part of the second was end to end, with few stoppages. Almost three-quarters of the way into the period, the Sharks had evened the shots to 17 each, erasing the Canucks first period shot advantage.
With :11 left in the period, Logan Couture scored, after Bo Horvat failed to clear the zone, and Alex Biega tried to clear the puck up the middle on the zone, rather than along the boards. A boneheaded defensive play results in a late period San Jose Sharks goal.
Bad shift for Biega. Loses board battle with Couture and can't contain centre, who pots go-ahead goal. #Canucks— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) March 30, 2016
Justin Braun took a hooking penalty on Baertschi less than a minute into the third period. Canucks power play had its moments, including this glorious chance, which forced Reimer to make a great save, but didn't convert.
Reimer somehow makes this save on #Canucks pic.twitter.com/fqIVbZYYop— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) March 30, 2016
Just over five minutes in, Jared McCann made some moves to get an open net, but put the backhand over the Sharks net. That would be the last time the Canucks looked dangerous tonight.
chatting with Jim Robson beside me on press row. I told him last #Canucks home PPG was March 1st.— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) March 30, 2016
He said 'which year?'
McCann went to the bench and slammed the gate. Not happy with missing an open net obviously— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) March 30, 2016
In the second quarter of the third period, the Canucks couldn't manage much sustained time in the San Jose end, because the Sharks did a good job of clearing the zone. With seven minutes left in the third, some San Jose pressure resulted in a high sticking penalty called against Matt Bartkowski, though Bo Horvat actually appeared to be the player who high sticked Chris Tierney. Thirty seconds into the power play, Markus Granlund was called for a weak goaltender interference penalty. On the ensuing two man advantage, the Canucks penalty killers got bunched up on the right side of the ice, leaving Logan Couture all alone to score.
Two defencemen in the corner: never a good idea— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) March 30, 2016
The Canucks killed the balance of the Granlund penalty, killing 22 of their last 24. They iced the puck as Granlund emerged from the penalty box. Off the faceoff in the Vancouver end, Daniel Sedin pushed Tommy Wingels from behind into the boards. It looked worse than it was, and John Garrett on the broadcast mentioned Wingels embellishment history. Vancouver successfully killed the penalty.
Sven Baertschi rushed the puck into the Sharks zone and found Yanick Weber streaking toward the goal. It was a lovely pass, but Reimer saved Weber's attempt.
Willie Desjardins pulled the goalie with a little over two minutes left. The Canucks took nearly a minute to get any pressure on the Sharks. Couture iced the puck with :22 left, failing in his attempt at the hat trick. Peter Deboer called a time out. After the face off, Brent Burns fed a breaking Couture, who scored for his first career hat trick. Final score San Jose 4, Vancouver 1.
The all too regular scenario of late held. Vancouver stormed out of the gate, had good sustained pressure on a tired Sharks team, but didn't convert. San Jose got better as the game went on. And while the Sharks had another gear, Vancouver simply didn't. Vancouver will try again Thursday against San Jose in the Shark Tank.
Willie D on Virtanen hit "I didn't get a great look at it live. It looks like it might be late. That's for the league to look at."— TSN Radio Vancouver (@TSN1040) March 30, 2016
Willie D: "I think this last little bit he hasn't played quite as well. I just think his habits have to get better."— TSN Radio Vancouver (@TSN1040) March 30, 2016
Henrik on Jake's hit - "It was late and a blindside hit." #Canucks— Irfaan Gaffar (@sportsnetirf) March 30, 2016
lots of ways to sum up this season, but this one so telling— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) March 30, 2016
50th time in 76 games #Canucks have been held to 2 goals or fewer
What is @fr_aquilini thinking right now? #canucks— David Ebner (@DavidEbner) March 30, 2016
If you're gonna be bad you may as well be really bad. That said, i can't believe how bad the #Canucks are right now.— Brook Ward (@realbrookward) March 30, 2016